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Canada: New Cabinet is 50% female

(18 Posts)
Want2bSupermum Thu 05-Nov-15 22:05:33

Very interesting to read about the new cabinet yesterday. The Guardian had this article.

I think it is fabulous that he has had the balls to do this but I do wonder if this is what is needed in this day and age. Whatever happened to hiring the best person for the job?

Also, Canada is one of the few countries to have a generous maternity leave yet women are well represented in senior positions in management in most private companies as well as in government departments. What are they doing differently to the UK? Is it time we start copying these guys when it comes to supporting families?

DoctorTwo Thu 05-Nov-15 23:16:54

I love his justification for appointing a 50% male cabinet: "well, it's 2015". grin

As for bringing any sort of workers' rights here, won't happen until we elect a government not in the pockets of corporations. Though if Corbyn can stay in charge at Labour expect quite a few of those right wing Labour MPs to get deselected as young people now at last have somebody they can vote for.

Want2bSupermum Fri 06-Nov-15 01:13:28

What I also like is that he was able to select people who I think are accomplished and well suited for their roles.

His reply was perfect too. Shut them up!

Lillipuddlian Tue 10-Nov-15 17:21:47

I am Canadian and don't agree that women are well represented in management. We do have year long maternity leaves, soon to be a year and a half. My husband took nine months paid parental leave. The federal government has a policy to purposefully hire women, disabled and visible minorities. However.... we have horrendous non-existing childcare policy and a lot of these other policies are to encourage women into work, tacitly downplaying the role of home parenting. I have a masters in social policy and am not impressed with the enforcement of women in parliament. It's not as rosy as it looks here and there is an American style focus on work over family.

Lillipuddlian Tue 10-Nov-15 17:26:29

I will say, though, that my 4 children will be subsidized to the tune of 16,000$ Cnd (7,000 sterling approximately) under this new government, in child benefit and, yes, I do work, so much is deducted for my family. I don't know if this is generous or not in comparison?

Want2bSupermum Tue 10-Nov-15 22:15:58

That's more than I get here in the US. I get $5000 and we spend $35-40k on childcare for 2.

When I say women are well represented, it's based on my experience as an auditor. I don't expect many women to be on boards now but I do expect to see women rising up the ranks. I see this a whole lot more in Canada and the U.S. compared to the UK.

crazycatguy Tue 10-Nov-15 22:27:00

I'm from Canada too and if there's one thing we are good at, it's purporting one image to the world and another at home. Our laws may seem liberal but our workplaces are not. The UK offers me four weeks paid holiday straight off the bat instead of two weeks after the first year, it offers me a work situation where if I can rarely be fired without warning, and the right not to work on a Sunday if I don't want to. If I'm ill, I still get paid, in Canada, no such thing. We work to live in the UK (and by European standards we are hard done by!) but in Canada we live to work. And we pay higher taxes! I'm male so maternity cover doesn't apply directly to me but I think that our smaller allowance is made up for in the superior security we enjoy.

crazycatguy Tue 10-Nov-15 22:27:26

I now live in the UK...... smile

Lillipuddlian Wed 11-Nov-15 15:47:59

Nicely put, I would echo this. In Canada, I feel there is a lot of push to work and accumulate. The focus on family is secondary to career and work-life balance is not really a concept. I find there is very little focus on vacations, unless to escape the horrible winters. Two weeks paid vacation to start. We hold dual citizenship with the UK and are planning a trial there!

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Wed 11-Nov-15 15:53:40

While I agree that Canada often paints a picture of Canadian life as being nothing short of perfect, I am overjoyed that Trudeau won the election and that Stephen Harper has finally be ousted.

At the end of the day, Trudeau is a politician but I am hopeful that he will make real changes for the working class in Canada.

Want2bSupermum Wed 11-Nov-15 23:38:39

It's funny because I see my cousins in Canada as having a good balance, at least better than what I have in the US. The females in my family are teachers, doctors, programmer, sales managers (well director and VP), mortgage broker, educational psychologist and scientist. All have been able to combine having a family and working. Heck two of my female cousins have 4 kids! One is a doctor and is able to set her shifts and on call duties that fit in with her family commitments. Contrast that to friends working in the NHS who are delaying having a second because they won't work with her family.

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Wed 11-Nov-15 23:56:21

I definitely feel like Canada has offered more flexibility in terms of family, but that could be down to my Canadian employers simply be a good employee. I know that is not necessarily indicative of working in Canada for everyone.

Lillipuddlian Thu 12-Nov-15 02:41:27

I will try to clarify my point as I feel it echoes what others have said. I feel that the USA is most work focused, Canada is quite work focused and it appears to me that the UK has a more balanced outlook on work-life balance. So Canada, in my eyes, is in the middle; not as work obsessed as the US from a policy perspective, but does not have as nice an approach to life as the British do (holidays, family oriented, more stay home parents, more out of work socializing)

Now mind you, a lot of this is based on my British husband, who has worked around the world and feels there was a better balance, "work to live" mentality in Britain with the reverse being true in N. America.

I am a Canadian expecting my fourth, have a very flexible job where I pick my own hours week to week, but I had to get an advanced degree to land this job and don't feel it is an option open to many. But my personal situation is well balanced, it's true.

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 12-Nov-15 03:28:46

The vacation stuff is terrible. I went from 6 weeks vacation in the UK to qualifying for two weeks after the first year of employment in Canada. I am almost at three years in my current job and my vacation entitlement will then rise to 3 weeks per year.

That said, I am very impressed with JT's decision making thus far, and I am interested to see what happens next. The women given cabinet posts are all exceptional candidates. On the other thread running on this topic, there was some debate over whether the cabinet did achieve the 'representative' stance it was supposed to in other demographics, notably Afro-Canadian. I am very impressed with the First Nation cabinet ministers though, and will be following Jody Wilson-Raybauld in particular.

There is an interesting sense of optimism now that SH is gone, although here in this corner of Alberta it is business as usual with everything blue. This will be the fifth year with no pay rise in our provincially linked institution though, with rents rising at least 10% per year and a zero occupancy rate.

Out2pasture Thu 12-Nov-15 03:55:29

i'm not sure how well canadian families are supported. not everyone qualifies for maternity leave. some people don't even qualify for social support programs (people who are self employed). childcare is very problematic both in the cities and in rural communities. public transportation is dismal. and public housing is shrouded in secrecy (not sure it really exists).
Canada does have a high percentage of people who complete university degrees so I fully expect all the people elected to be well educated and suitable candidates.
I expect the new government to provide a new perspective on some old ongoing issues but I think it is unlikely they will make huge changes. so call me cautiously optimistic.

Want2bSupermum Thu 12-Nov-15 14:23:52

My cousins are using au pairs and childminders. They have found childcare and it's somewhat affordable for them.

My cousin who had 4 DC in 5 years was allowed to drop her hours to one day a week after she finished her one year maternity leave. That meant she was able to keep working and care for her DC while her DH was away (he was in the military at the time). Now her youngest is 8 she is back to an 80% schedule to accomodate hockey practice for the 4 DC. She would go FT but her DH works in the US Monday - Thursday returning on Friday morning.

I would love to be able to reduce my hours like that.

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 12-Nov-15 15:02:53

Yes, the flexibility of work hours may be better depending on your employment. I work ft but a compressed schedule in 4 days. But it is very much pros and cons. It enables me to manage my week better, but two weeks vacation does nothing to help me manage the bigger picture - so work is definitely prioritized over family time as a whole. Last year I ran an overseas trip for a youth group as a volunteer, which erased my annual leave completely, for example, so to get Christmas off with my family I had to apply for unpaid additional leave. It was absolutely my decision as I knew my volunteering would use up the vacation time, but the fact that I only had 2 weeks vacation in the year to eke out made it very difficult.

A lot depends on your Union rules. Ours have very strict limits as to the flexibility that is allowed, and line managers can turn requests for flexible working down due to operational requirements. Same as anywhere really. As ever, it is only the women that apply for flexible working to fit around childcare though, not any men. Flexible working is great, but feminist utopia it ain't. (At least here - I would be interested if there are men applying for flexible working to fit around childcare in droves anywhere else?)

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 12-Nov-15 15:04:38

<and obviously the prevalence of summer camps sounds great, but it is a direct childcare provision response to the minimal vacation offered to workers>

All pros and cons. We are quite happy.

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